I wrote this down in my notebook months ago…and as I chanced upon it tonight looking for something else, I decided it was time I share the ins and outs of why skirts are my happy thought:
To get to know me, Farm-girl Emily, you will have to acquaint yourself with some of my friends. Julie S. is a woman I met on my Latter Day Saint, proselyting mission. There she was with dark simple hair due pulled in a very large bun, and glinting dark brown eyes, stunning in beauty portrayed with the most simple, old fashioned and modest of checked charm. She was romantic and peaceful, obedient, and committed, all wrapped in one, in her button down tucked in shirt, with a slender waist and a long flowing skirt. When I stepped into her peaceful home, and heard she and her husband pray so adoringly, sweetly and peacefully, I knew she would be an unforgettable pillar in my life.
At that point I wanted the blessings of the temple and eternal family that our church offers, for her family irrevocabley. Although I was to find that although Julie wouldn’t be interested in my faith, mine was the delight of meeting a person who stamps her impression into your soul as with concrete…How long-lasting and far reaching her example would be for me, I didn’t realize.
As I went home from my mission and went back to normal every day civilian life, her memory teased me at the back of my mind as the feminine ideal. I learned some of my own about modesty, like when I was seen by an apostle of the Lord, and when he looked at me full of love and concern I felt I could do better. My skirt was just at that point where wind or a bend not executed just so, would cause a breech in modesty. I joyfully sewed on a stripe on my skirt and ever forward vowed that modesty came first, even before style. I furthered the tug of war all women play, where here and there a too tight or short or sheer or whatever else, item came my way, and in that it was cute, I wore it till I realized I wasn’t feeling the spirit as sweetly as I could and then cast it back out of my life…those items spring up like weeds and must be therefore tugged out.
Meanwhile, as I got married my closet filled with just a few more skirts that weren’t just for Sunday, and in my heart I wondered, does Julie know how much I remember her?
Then I began to study for myself these principles and decided I’d perform an experiment. I wore skirts for a complete month…and felt so sweet and feminine and nice and pretty. But at the time however I had a male neighbor whose back yard was connected to mine, and felt I was calling undue attention to myself by wearing skirts, and as I studied I felt that a large part of modesty had to do with making those around you comfortable, and not calling undue attention to yourself. So while I continued to wear skirts, I also wore pants, and battled the inner man balance of looking bright, happy and kept without feeling attractive in an inappropriate way, still weeding out this and or that item to my wardrobe.
Skirt experiment 2008 or so.
Once I went back to pants however I had an ultra sensitivity to cloth wrapped around my legs, and I realized I wore hip-hugging jeans as a way of life before and at that point. I realized I had in times past tempted the viewer by stating the obvious with tight fitting clothing. I gained an awareness of how classy a woman could feel when her curves were a part of her demure secret, in a loose pant or shirt, that alluded only to the glory underneath.
A looser pant, post skirt experiment 2008 or so. Maybe I didn’t need to go that loose, but that is what I found at the Thrift Store, and they were really comfortable, mentally and physically.
I remember walking on the golf course with my husband in my pretty jean skirt on the last day of my experiment, as if it were a good bye party. I loved feeling feminine but I hated thinking I’d make anyone uncomfortable. Oh how pretty I felt. Good bye to feeling pretty I thought. Oh I still wore my skirts of course but not every day like I did for that fun month.
I think nothing short of vanity and a desire to not feel fat, fell upon me when I started to wear skirts more often again. To find a pair of pants that isn’t tight but doesn’t look like a baggy sloppy frumpy mess is really not easy. Add on top of that a changing figure size and short legs. A curvy body. How complicated is the human woman figure. We are talking narrow, long, wide, short, poochy, concave, flat, sloping, bumpy, in seam, stubby, lengthy…basically we’re juggling a lot. And I really really hated feeling fat.
When a friend outside my faith asked me why I wore skirts so often I replied, my jeans all didn’t fit me, which was true…I was adjusting back from a pregnancy, but then I finally got around to buying some bigger pants. And in fact went to one garage sell alone and I had more loose and just right fitting pants then I could shake a stick at. I was so happy because I felt really classy in these nice fitting pants. They flaired out just the way I liked and everything, and I had no shortage anymore, not in jeans or slacks or anything else.
I remember one day, I felt an impression so large to just bight the bullet and be who I wanted to be. It was like romance in the story tale sense bursting out of my chest. I should just do it. Should just go for it. But I swallowed it down, like the last bight of cheese cake to remember only, but no longer savor.
Not two weeks later, our recent prophet had announced the thrilling news that females could now serve at the young age of 19 instead of the riper age of 21. They were not commanded to go as young men were, still but the door of opportunity opened…it was an exciting moment for the young women of our church. A popular woman blog author wrote a compelling and flaunting article about what could have been, in my mind, as if to state that those dowdy dense and stubborn old men leaders of our church had finally seen the light, the light of what women could do and could accomplish…and I must admit, I wanted nothing to do with her provocative words.
True, I was a female who did have the opportunity to serve a ‘mission’ for my church. But when I heard the prophet announce this, my thoughts were very different. I felt light and happy all at once and I knew that it was the right time. Its as if I were in a car accident when time slows down and you can see a million reasons all at once as to why things were the way they were and I knew that it was right. It was exciting and wonderful, but there was no part of me that had any doubt that it was right now, but wasn’t right all along and it was the prideful leaders that finally opened their hearts to it. I knew it was right now, and wasn’t right before. Sometimes we have to pray to know things like this, but for some grace of a reason, this was given to me in that moment.
And it was in that moment that I wanted to politically make a statement, as well as tangibly mark out a reminder for myself of who I wanted to be, through my choice of dress, that my husband “wore the pants” and I did not. I wanted to wear a dress to separate my feminine roles symbolically as well as mentally from my husband. I wanted to look down upon my skirt when I was tempted to talk crassly, over boldly and dominantly and remember instead my more influential counterparts of a demurely witty and spunkily strong but gentle womanhood that was mine to cherish, and to more deeply empower and influence with. God knows I could use a tangible reminder to soften my hard and ugly temper.
My closet was riddled with skirts, under tights, and loose pants, with a whole bin of jeans up high waiting for me to shrink down a bit for. And at that day, I began to patronage my skirts.
Tis funny that on Riley’s birthday, however that I thought my sweater looked better with a pair of jeans, and when he got home he asked, “Can you please change?” Which was bold and direct, but it was his birthday date after all! Once I told him I wanted to show that he wore the pants, by gum, he wanted to wear them! It happened again a second time with a muttering that its interesting how pants aren’t as flattering on women, and so, I know my man likes me best this charming feminine way, in a skirt. Another time he said, “Ahhhh, man!” when I wore pants, and lest you think he was controlling, I will state, another time I wore a pair of pants, he said, “I like your belt!” I remember when I first did my 30 day skirt experiment a few years back, and my 3 year old son kept making comments like “Mama, you look soooo pretty!!” I think there is something really stabilizing for children when they know their parents have different and distinct roles.
And so for now on, I hope to paint a living picture of past ideals. Skirts are not my religion, but instead my preference, as well as my happiest choice. They are indeed my Happy Thought.
“I’m a girl and by me, that’s only great. I am proud that my silhouette is curvy.”
And, yes I have gained restraint in not choosing to flaunt the truth of my figure as this poem would insinuate, but I do glory with the joy in the tantalizing espionage that I am a woman.
I need not compete with, nor compare myself to man, a creature of entirely different but correlating and balancing virtues. For me, being a woman is an art. An art that I will heretofore proclaim with every swish of my step and unless for the occasion, I don’t feel modest in a ‘cultural message’ sense, or my skirt isn’t suited to the task, mine will be to live an entirely feminine and delightfully old fashioned life…
No you won’t find me in a skirt at the gym or skiing down a hill, nor will you find me dressed up fancy like a Jane Austen fanatic. But you will find me barefoot on my deck with a skirt or bundled up cozily feeding my chickens complete with under warming leggings and snow boots. Alas I am a Tasha Tudor at heart.
Sunday, 2011, after Church
You may choose to be more the modern woman as you dress, yet and exemplify still, all that is bright and good and feminine. May you always be true to all the sweetness planted in the angelic heart God implanted with in you and may you ever be true to yourself!
Margaret D. Nadauld, “A Woman of Faith,” Ensign, Nov 2002, 73 (Referring to those looking upon a woman of faith) They not only hear her discuss her commitment, but they see her commitment in her daily living—in the way she dresses, what she reads and watches, how she spends her leisure time, what she loves and laughs at, whom she attracts, and how she acts at all times, in all things, and in all places. She has a certain style of her own that is attractive and joyful and bright and good. Our little girls and our young women can safely trust in her example. We pray that they too will be fearless as they seek out and promote that which is uplifting and happy and decent, for they are our future.